Staying up to speed on the latest food safety and quality standards is important, even if sometimes complex and time-consuming. As they work to stay compliant with global and domestic standards, manufacturers can take advantage of the many benefits of inspection technologies to enhance and optimize their production process while preventing potential hazards and assuring quality and consistency. These technologies may prove as the difference between compliance and incompliance, or simply the difference between producing a safe product or a dangerous hazard for public consumption.
The word “critical” in the phrase “critical control points” underscores the importance of the tools and technologies implemented in vulnerable segments of the farm-to-fork chain. Recently, highly public recalls and increasingly stringent regulations have propelled manufacturers to ensure they are covering those CCPs to the best of their ability to provide safe finished products while complying with standards on a local, national, and global scale.
X-ray inspection systems cover many CCPs in the production process, and, in turn, assist manufacturers to comply with food safety standards and programs, including HACCP, BRC, ISO 22000, GFSI, SQF, IFS, FSMA and more. As the regulatory environment broadens with globalization, many of these regulatory standards overlap requirements making x-ray systems an excellent tool for staying compliant with many of these regulations.
Here are a few real-world examples:
Point 1: Identify critical control points (CCPs) and establish corrective actions, verification procedures and documentation procedures as part of HACCP plans.
Solution: X-ray machines can be installed at CCPs throughout the manufacturing process, from bulk/loose flow inspection to final checks of packaging and cases, to ensure that foreign materials are not present in the product. Installing x-ray machines qualifies as a corrective action implemented to prevent potential hazards and the use of x-ray machines qualifies as an important intervention in HACCP plans.
Point 2: Have a Food Safety Management System (FSMS) in place as a core of part of ISO 22000 standards and general food safety.
Solution: Inspection systems are an integral part of an FSMS, especially considering that HACCP is the foundation of most FSMSs. The use of x-ray inspection systems qualify as a food safety procedure in place as part of documentation for FSMS.
Point 3: Comply with global standards for food safety, for facilities that do business in all parts of the world and for sites based in other countries.
Solution: By seeking certification to global standards, like International Featured Standards (IFS), BRC food safety standards and/or others that meet benchmark requirements of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), manufacturers can demonstrate their compliance with internationally recognized food safety practices and requirements. X-ray systems are tools that control hazards and help assure product quality and integrity, as components of food safety plans that comply with global standards. Auditors who do onsite evaluations as part of the certification process can see how x-ray systems are in place as a preventive measure, and can also use databases as part of accompanying software systems to access and verify information and images of scanned products.
Point 4: Help assure both safety and quality, as part of general efforts and Safe Quality Food (SQF) programs.
Solution: SQF programs, which are increasingly used around the world and combine food safety and quality protocols, may encompass x-ray technologies that inspect products throughout the production process for both quality and safety purposes. Manufacturers adhering to SQF programs can find and reject physical contaminants while also verifying product attributes like fill level, component count, product voids, and many other analytical parameters.
Given the scope and breadth of those standards, understanding and abiding by the latest food safety standards grows more and more challenging with each passing year. To learn more about the latest standards and requirements download Eagle’s new guide,” Food Safety and Quality Regulations: A Guide to Global Standards.”